Building and Renovation Services Glossary of Terms TERM DEFINITION TERM DEFINITION Advance Cash payments made to PG&E before PG&E begins work no...
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Building and Renovation Services

Glossary of Terms TERM





Cash payments made to PG&E before PG&E begins work not covered by allowances. All advances will be applied to the balance of your contract and any unused portion, if any, will be refunded.

Circuit Breaker

Device used to interrupt short circuits.


Interruptions in electrical service in order to perform maintenance or upgrades on the electrical system.


Unit used to measure the flow of electrical current.

Commercial Development

Analog Meter

Device used to record the total amount of gas or electricity consumed.

Two (2) or more commercial, educational, or governmental enterprises located on a single parcel of land or on contiguous parcels.


A Person(s) or Agency requesting PG&E to supply service or request changes in gas and/or electric service. The applicant may be a business or home owner. The applicant may also be a developer and/or an agent of the customer of record. The applicant is the person who completes the application, it may not be the person executing the final contract.

Common Use Areas

Areas that may be shared or used by occupants within a multifamily accommodation, e.g., laundry room or tennis courts.

Community Choice Aggregation Service (CCA Service)

Service that allows customers to purchase electric power and participate in programs from non-utility entities known as Community Choice Aggregators.

Backbone Transmission (Natural Gas)

System used to transport gas to a company’s local transmission and distribution system from an interconnection with interstate pipelines, other local distribution companies, and California gas fields.


Ducts, pipes, or tubes of certain metals, plastics or other materials acceptable to PG&E (including pull wires and concrete encasement where required) for the installation and protection of electric wires and cables.

Badge Number

Identifier stamped on the meter or item (not the manufacturer’s number).

Connected Load


Refers to facilities installed for PG&E’s operating convenience and whose expense, therefore, will be the responsibility of PG&E.

Total amount of energy it would take to operate all of a customer’s connected appliances at maximum capacity.


Devices used to join two wires electrically.

Contract Person

A person(s) who receives PG&E’s contract for gas and/or electric service. This person is responsible for signing and returning contract and pay for total project costs, including design & construction.


Customers requesting service may be required to execute one or more written contracts before PG&E begins work or establishes service. Contracts are kept on file with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).


Value of property, cash, and in-kind services conveyed to PG&E for work on a customer’s service facilities.

Cost of Service Factor

Factor applied to account for PG&E’s annualized investment in distribution facilities (including taxes, return, and depreciation).

Branch Service

Service that is not connected to a gas main and has another service as its source of supply.

British Thermal Unit (Btu)

Unit used to measure thermal energy. One Btu equals the approximate amount of thermal energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.


Conductors (including cable-in-conduit, if used), connectors, switches, as required by PG&E for primary, secondary, and service installations.

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

State governmental body that regulates utilities within California.


Device used to correct undesirable low power factor on distribution lines.





Cross Arm

Horizontal brackets (typically wooden) mounted on the pole to which wires are attached to conduct electricity.


Trenching, backfilling, and other digging required to install gas and electric underground facilities.

Cubic Foot (CF)

Most common unit of measurement of natural gas volume.

Fault Current


Person or entity in whose name service is rendered, as evidenced by the signature on agreements or by a record of receipt and payment of bills.

Abnormal flow of current in an electric circuit due to a fault, usually a short circuit or abnormally low impedance path.

Feeder Circuit

Cut in Flat

Refers to placing conductive material in the electric meter socket to allow energy to flow from the line side of the service (utility owned) to the load side of the service (customer owned) without a meter.

Overhead or underground electrical supply line that carries power less than 60,000 volts from the substations through various paths that end at the transformer.

Feeder Conduit

Cut out

General term used to describe the kind of fuse which is used in overhead electric distribution.

Conduit for contingency uses in a backbone system, including future expansion of the system, new connections between substations, and supplying emergency backup power.

Franchise Area


May refer to amount of energy, in kilowatts (kW) drawn by a customer at a specific time or drawn on the entire system by all customers. (Also called “load”.)

Public streets, roads, highways and other public ways and places where PG&E has a legal right to occupy under franchise agreements with the agency that has jurisdiction.


Combustible gas or vapor, or combustible mixture of gaseous constituents used to produce heat by burning.

Gas Distribution System

Mains, service connections, and equipment that carry or control the supply of natural gas from point of local supply to and including the meter.

Gas Houseline

Small pipes (1 to 3/4 inch in diameter) running out of the meter and onto the property that carry natural gas to home appliances.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI or GFI)

A specific type of circuit protection that is commonly required in kitchens, garages, bathrooms and anywhere else that water is in close proximity. The devices help safeguard against electrical shock and are available as an outlet or a breaker.

Individual Metering

Separate service meters installed in a multi-unit building.

Industrial Development

Service center on the customer site that contains equipment such as fuses, breakers, and meters.

Two or more enterprises that create products or change materials into different forms located on a single parcel of land or on contiguous parcels.

Insignificant Loads

Electric Transmission System

Network of high voltage lines over which PG&E transports electricity over long distances, as far as Canada, Mexico, and western states other than California.

Small operating loads such as those which power gate openers, valve controls, clocks, timing devices, fire protection equipment, alarm devices, etc.


Elevation Code

Factor that accounts for the way elevation effects the atmospheric pressure, the amount of gas contained in a cubic foot, and the amount of gas consumed as a result.

Glass or porcelain fixtures which insulate conductors and the current they are carrying from returning to ground.

Intermittent Loads

Loads which, in the opinion of PG&E, are subject to discontinuance for a time or at intervals.

Distribution Line Extension

New distribution facilities that extend to or branch from, the nearest available previously existing permanent distribution line.

Distribution Lines

PG&E’s overhead and underground lines, consisting of poles, power lines, substations, and transformers, which supply two or more services to homes and businesses.

Distribution Main

Underground pipelines that carry natural gas from utilities to homes and businesses.

Distribution Main Extension

The length of main and its related facilities required to transport gas from the existing distribution facilities to the point of connection with the service pipe.

Distribution Trench Footage

Total trench footage used for calculating cabling costs and pipe cost. Equal to the total length of all trench needed for the installation of underground electric distribution lines and gas distribution mains designed to supply two or more services.

Electric Panel





Joint Trench

Excavation that intentionally provides for more than one service, such as gas, electricity, cable television, telephone, etc.

Net Revenue


1,000 watts, the most common unit used to measure electrical power. 1 watt equals the current of one ampere under one volt of pressure.

Kilowatt hour (kWh)

Common measure of the production, transmission or utilization of electrical energy.

That portion of the total rate revenues that supports PG&E’s Distribution Line and Service Extension costs and excludes such items as energy, transmission, Competition Transition Charge (CTC), public purpose programs, revenue cycle services revenues, and other revenues that do not support the Distribution Line and Service Extension costs.

Non-Residential Allowances Net Revenue Multiplier

This is a revenue-supported factor determined by PG&E that is applied to the net revenues expected from non-residential loads to determine non-residential allowances.

Permanent Service

Service which, in the opinion of PG&E, is of a permanent and established character. This may be continuous, intermittent, or seasonal in nature.

Load Factor

Ratio of actual electric energy consumption during a given time period to the consumption that would have occurred had consumption been fully sustained at the peak (maximum) demand level during the same period of time.

Main Line Extension (MLX)

Extension of electric or gas service from the main energy supply line to the customer’s facility.

Planned Outage/ Planned Shutdown

Main Switch

Device used to protect customer equipment installed past the meter.

Scheduled interruptions in electrical service in order to perform maintenance or upgrades on the electrical system.

Pole Line

The use of a single service and meter to supply more than one residence, apartment dwelling unit, mobile home space, store, office, etc.

Poles, cross-arms, insulators, conductors, switches, guy-wires, and other related equipment used in the construction of an electric overhead line.


Real property and apparatus employed in a single enterprise on an integral parcel of land. (Some exceptions may apply, such as commercial or industrial facilities divided by a public throughway or a parking lot separated from buildings by an alley.)

Primary Voltage

High voltage or input side of a transformer. Includes the circuit that feeds into the transformer.

Private Lines

Facilities that are not owned, operated and maintained by PG&E.

Protective Structures

Fences, retaining walls (in lieu of grading), sound barriers, posts, or barricades and other structures as required by PG&E to protect distribution equipment.

Qualified Contractor/ Subcontractor (QC/S)

Customer’s contractor who is licensed in California, employs workers who are properly certified for their assigned work, and complies with applicable laws.

Rate Schedule

Tariff sheet that sets forth the rules, charges, and conditions for services at a given location.


Self-contained device that senses distribution system fault currents, closes to interrupt them, and resets the system for proper operation.



Equals one million watts; usually used to describe the capacity of large generators, substations or large industrial loads.

Monthly Ownership Charge

Charge that may be deducted from customer deposits when services are requested by a customer and facilities are prepared but not used for a period of time. Serves to recover the cost of operating and maintaining the facilities.

Multifamily accommodation

Natural Gas

Natural Gas Distribution

An apartment building, duplex, court group, residential hotel, or any other group of residential units located upon a single premise, providing the residential units meet the requirements for a residential dwelling unit. Temporary or transient housing (such as motels and dormitories) are excluded from the definition. Hydrocarbon gas found in the earth composed of methane, ethane, butane, propane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hexane, heptanes and pentane. Delivery of natural gas to customers. Distribution lines normally operate at pressures of 60 pounds per square inch gauge or less.





Residential Customer

Customer who operates dwelling units such as single- or multifamily homes or mobile homes.

Service delivery voltage

Voltage delivered between 0 and 750 volts to the end use customer meter to serve customers loads.


A person(s) who will be PG&E’s primary point of contact for the project. Is the individual that we will communicate with, request information from or provide updates to with regards to a project.

Service drop

Wire that connects a customer’s weather head (on top of the roof) to the electric pole. Service drops are maintained by PG&E; the weather head is maintained by the customer.

Residential Development

Five or more dwelling units in two or more buildings located on a single parcel of land.

Service Extensions

Residential Dwelling Unit

A group of rooms, such as a house, a flat, or an apartment where people live, cook meals, eat, sleep, and carry on domestic life.

Overhead and underground primary or secondary facilities extending from the point of connection at the distribution line to the service delivery point.

Service Line

Residential Subdivision

Area allocated for the building of five or more lots for residential dwelling units to be constructed at about the same time, often by a single builder or coordinated building companies.

Pipeline, valves, and fittings that carries natural gas from a distribution main up to the gas meter at a building.

Service Pipe

See Service Line.

Single-Customer Substation

Substation owned by PG&E but dedicated to serve a specific customer.


Device that collects electric and natural gas usage data from your home or business and transmits it to PG&E via a secure, wireless communication network.

Special or Added Facilities

Special or added facilities PG&E agrees to install on the customers request an at the customer’s expense.


Connection between two lengths of wire or cable.

Splice Box

Device found in underground systems used to enclose splices in cables so that they may be readily accessible for repair.

Stub Service

Lateral pipe, including valves and fittings, from and including the connection at the distribution main to a dead end near the curb or property line of the street.


The output side of a transformer and the circuit connected with it. Voltage delivered between 0 and 750 volts. Also referred to as service delivery voltage.

System that lets property owner install, own, maintain, and read a master-meter and still bill tenants separately.


Junction along a distribution network where electricity is converted from transmission voltage to distribution voltage.


Method for isolating permanent faults and confining outages to smaller sections of lines.


Service Delivery Point

Specific location at a premise where PG&E supplies service. (e.g., electric meter, gas meter)

Surface and subsurface structures, such as splice boxes, pull boxes, equipment vaults and enclosures, foundations or pads for surface-mounted equipment, which are necessary to contain or support PG&E’s electric facilities.

Service Delivery Pressure

The pressure of the gas when delivered at the meter to the end use customer. Standard pressure is 0.25 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) or seven inches water column.

Switched Outlet

Electrical outlet that is turned on and off by a wall switch.

Tariff Sheet

Document that codifies PG&E’s tariffs.

Rights of Way

Rights-of-way or easements may be required to install services on a customer’s property.


Installation on a pole which connects underground distribution facilities to over head facilities.


Tariff sheets which cover the application of all rates, charges, and services, when such applicability is not set forth in and is a part of the rate schedules.

Scenic Areas

Area such as a scenic highway, a state or national park or other area determined by a governmental agency to be of unusual scenic interest to the general public.

Seasonal Service

Secondary Voltage

Electric Service to establishments which are occupied seasonally or intermittently, such as seasonal resorts, cottages, or other part-time establishments.






Entire body of effective rates, rentals, charges, and rules approved and on file with the California Public Utilities Commission.


Trenching, backfilling, and other digging as required to install distribution line extension facilities.

Temporary Service

Service for enterprises or activities of limited duration such as temporary construction power.


Supplier that provides a basic service such as delivering electricity, natural gas, and/or water to a community.


Unit used to measure natural gas. Therms are the cubic feet of natural gas used, multiplied by a therm factor.


Unit used to measure electrical potential of pressure.

Voltage Level of Service

Voltage level at which a customer is connected to the electric transmission and distribution system.

Voltage Regulator

Equipment used at most substations to compensate for fluctuations in transmission supply.


Unit used to measure the rate of producing, transmitting or using electrical energy.

Weather head

Periscope structure made of metal conduit that the customer’s electric service wire passes through as the point of contact with PG&E’s overhead service drop line.

Time-of-Use (TOU)

Rate option that prices electricity according to the season or time of day that it is used. Such usage is aggregated into discrete time periods are called TOU periods.

Tract or Subdivision

Area allocated to a number of family dwellings, usually built around the same time and by the same builder of coordinated groups of builders working together.


Device which permits changing the high voltage needed for distribution down to the lower voltage for customer use. Overhead transformers are usually bolted to a wood pole and connected by overhead high voltage cables to individual customer service meters. Underground, transformers are usually green steel cabinets mounted on concrete pads and connected by underground high voltage cables to individual customer service meters.

Transmission lines

Grid of towers and high-voltage lines that transmit energy from power plants to the distribution system.

Transmission Pipes

Network of large steel pipes that carries natural gas from processing plants to utilities.

“PG&E” refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. ©2011 Pacific Gas and Electric Company. All rights reserved. PG&E prints its materials with soy based inks on recycled paper. June 2011 C-Code Here

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